Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Month: December 2015

Christmas is Coming

With it being so close to Christmas we have decided to take a break from blogging until the New Year. As this year comes to a close try to remember that our kids and family will not be extremely crushed if there are not hundreds of presents under the tree or over flowing stockings.

Thank you for letting me use this image.

OK, there may be a few tears especially if your Christmas normally looks like the one above, but then heat up some hot chocolate, drop in a few marshmallows, turn on a Christmas movie and cuddle up under a blanket. Then you can play a board game, or a card game, just spend time together, QUALITY time together. Go walking around the neighborhood looking at Christmas light. Try to keep the phones and electronics on silent, in another room and pretend you live back in the Little House on the Prairie days.

This would mean exchanging only one gift each, listening to music (that Pa most likely played), and reading and playing games together and of course there being a blizzard that threatens the arrival of Santa and in swoops Mr. Edwards to save the day. Now I know our Christmas wont truly look like that because like I already mentioned we can watch movies, and of course we don’t all know a Mr. Edwards or live in a snowy climate but those simple Christmases are what I think this generation is missing.

We need to get back to living simple and having the gifts we give come out of the time and effort we thought about what to get that person. My favorite Little House on the Prairie Christmas episode was when Laura sold her horse to Mr. Oleson to buy her Ma a wood burning stove all the while her Pa was making  a saddle to go on Laura’s horse. When Mr. Oleson came to pick up the horse and drop off the stove, Laura had just opened her saddle present and started crying because she was sad that her Pa had worked so hard on the saddle and now she couldn’t use it. I tried to find a video clip of it but….that is the one YouTube clip not circling the internet, so you will have to use your imagination, or go watch it yourself. It is from the first season episode fifteen. You can watch it here on Amazon!

Have a wonderful Christmas and everyone is saying it, so I might as well too, remember the reason for the season. Jesus loves you and that’s why we get to celebrate his birth this holiday season.  Enjoy this time with your family and we will see you in the New Year with our dairy goats.


Building the Compost Pile

Calling all pallet lovers! This compost pile is for you. Gather up those pallets, look behind stores and Craigslist. They are out there and ready to be found. Thankfully we have great neighbors who lent me their tools and coached me on using them. Five pallets, long screws, a power screw driver, and helpful neighbors is a recipe for success.

all set up

all set up, as you can see I was not concerned about them being different sizes

We made a three sided square with three pallets standing up so the slats were horizontal, screwed the corners together. Then added the other two pallets to make two, three sided squares that shared a side. Look at the picture and it will all make sense. Once we attached them, that was that, the next step was to add material that needed to be composted.

this is the back of the pallets where the screws were put

this is the back of the pallets where the screws were put

Now there are two compartments to work with. All of our compostable material goes in one side and when we are ready to stir it, the compost gets moved from one side to the other. Added benefits are that it’s on concrete so I know I’m getting just compost when digging it out and the chickens get immediate access to all of the food scraps and bugs. But dirt is always good to because its easier for the bugs to just crawl straight from the ground into the pile.

Remember…NO PROTEIN or DAIRY! We keep a bin on the kitchen counter for scraps and take it out every morning when we let the chickens out. I found this awesome picture on pinterest, the link is in the description.

great list of what is and isn’t compostable

Now with all the compostable materials the chickens LOVE the compost area. My only problem is the spread it out super fast. IMG_3752

The next addition to the compost structure will be a board at the front blocking the chickens from spreading the waste everywhere. For now though this is them enjoying their compost heap.


she does looked peeved though haha she is the only one who really sits still for a picture


Also if you do not have much waste in your house ask for friends and relatives to help out. Make them buckets for them to keep outside with a list on the top saying what can and can’t be put inside. Then once a week stop by their house and collect all of the scraps. Then offer them a share of the compost when spring comes around. There are always ways to find stuff for the compost bin.  Have fun making black gold and saving the landfills from our excess.

What does your compost pile look like? Or what plans do you have for making one? Even people in an apartment can have a compost bin. More on that in another post though 🙂

Persimmon Bread

Persimmons…Do you know what that is? It is an orange fruit that is either heart shaped (hachiya) for baking or tomato shaped (fuyu) for eating as is.

I'm an adult...can't I play with my food? :)

I’m an adult…can’t I play with my food? 🙂 These are heart shaped

I had no idea what a persimmon was until we moved out here. Never heard of them. Although if I had paid attention in the stores I would have known they exist because now I see them everywhere haha It also seems that lots of people know what they are so just ignore my descriptions of them if that’s the case.

Well once we discovered these fruits I then had to find a way to use them. NEVER EVER bite into a heart shaped persimmon until it is as soft as a rotting tomato. Seriously, your mouth with thank me for listening to this advice. I didn’t know when they were ripe until after the awful day that I bit into a hard persimmon right off the tree. OH MY GOSH! I though my mouth was dying. It was so bitter and made my mouth feel like I had a hundred cotton balls were in it. I will never do that again.  You can eat the heart shaped ones by themselves if you wait til they are almost rotten and then they are actually really sweet, which is why they are great for baking.  Natural sweetness and if there is still a bit of bitterness left in them the baking and added sweetener helps to even it all out 🙂 Don’t let them get too mushy though…

the seed has gone bad and turned it black

the seed has gone bad and turned it black, not sure if that makes it inedible but we gave this one to the chickens

So back to the question of what do I do with these fruits? One can really can only eat so many of these, they are delicious but definitely an acquired taste when raw. Off to Pinterest I went looking for persimmon recipes. The top recipe was persimmon bread….I LOVE BREAD! This seemed like a good fit. Jump on over here to Putney Farm to find the original recipe that includes alcohol, pecans and cranberries. Unfortunately when sharing with the kids alcohol is out of the question and they aren’t a fan of cranberries and pecans….so I got to experiment with what I had on hand.  Fruit juice for the liquid and raisins instead of cranberries and I completely took out the pecans.  This recipe makes two loaves of bread, feel free to eat both, freeze one or just cut the recipe in half. Do what works for you.

So here we go…..

Preheat the oven to 350 F and start melting your 1 cup of butter. Don’t boil it, just melt it and let cool.

isn't that cool?

isn’t that cool? I did not make a heart on purpose

Sift the 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt,  2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp nutmeg, and 2 cups of sugar. We do not own a sifter but we do own this strainer (not sure what its original use was for but it surprisingly gets used a lot around here), and it works great as a sifter when I hit it against my hand.

Sift the

Now the melting butter will still be hot so take the time to butter and flour your two cake pans, I put a tiny slice of butter on a paper towel then use that for wiping it all around. Then add your bit of flour and shake it around and dump the excess that does not stick.

2015.10.08 persimmon bread 5

there was no difference in baking or sticking between the glass and nonstick pans

If you haven’t already, now is also the time to get your fruit puree 🙂 Just cut it in half, take out the seeds and scoop out the insides with a spoon and smash with a fork. Then you have your fruit puree. If you do not like chunks then definitely use a food processor but chunks are always fun for me to bite into. Almost like buried treasure in food 🙂

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Now back to the dry ingredients, make a hole, well, pit anything that resembles a spot for all the wet ingredients to be dumped….and dump!

2015.10.08 persimmon bread 13

Now stir all this yummy goodness together and pour it into your floured baking pans and put them in the oven for about an hour.

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Once a toothpick comes out clean let them cool on the counter all the way then remove and eat.

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This bread was really delicious. Definitely sweeter than banana bread, but not as sweet as a cookie. I’ve made this multiple times and used different fruit juices, just NO orange juice, I do not think that would blend well. Also almost all the Littles and Hubby are not fans of raisins so I have kept them out of the recipe and everything still turned out just fine.

Please 🙂 Feel free to experiment and make this recipe your own, play with the sugar amount, maybe try a different sweetener, add whatever clear juice you want or even jump back to the original recipe to see what others say about using alcohol. Just have fun and try to enjoy baking.


  • 3½ cups sifted flour (don’t use all whole wheat)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled to room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup fruit juice
  • 2 cups persimmon puree (about 4 persimmons)
  • 2 cups raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start melting your butter.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and sugar.  Then make a hole in the middle of it.
  3. Stir the butter, eggs, juice, persimmon, and raisins, then dump it into the middle of the dry ingredients.
  4. Stir it all together really well.
  5. Pour the batter into the pans and put it in the oven for  about an hour until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool all the way before removing from the pans and then eat it all up 🙂

2015.10.08 persimmon bread 23 william

Here is our littlest Little enjoying butter on his raisin filled persimmon bread.

Have you ever had a persimmon? What did you think about it? Next season we should have more persimmons and I plan on trying a persimmon pudding. For now stay tuned for more recipes and adventures of using what we have on the homestead.